Palace Of Laughter, Stateside

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20060307

Geoffrey Wheeler's series about the history of American vaudeville.

1/3. Like Music Hall in Britain, vaudeville was a product of its time - increasing urbanisation and a desire to present entertainment which would appeal to the whole family, led to the development of vast vaudeville circuits, spanning thousands of miles of barely settled American territory.

Thousands of performers travelled from town to town, earning their living. Among those who learned their trade in vaudeville were future international stars such as Fred and Adele Astaire, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and jazz singer Ma Rainey.

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